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Automation driving AI adoption, but lack of right skillsets slowing down returns

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Businesses are turning to artificial intelligence (AI) to automate their IT processes and help detect potential security threats, but the lack of relevant AI skillsets is a key barrier to benefiting from such initiatives. 

Some 42% of organizations already are using AI, with 59% planning to accelerate and increase their investment in the technology, according to an IBM study. Another 40% are actively exploring their AI use, revealed the study, which polled 8,584 IT professionals across the globe including Australia, Singapore, India, South Korea, Germany, the US, and the UK. Conducted by Morning Consult, the survey was carried out in November. 

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India, the UAE, Singapore, and China are ahead of the pack in terms of their AI use, at 59%, 58%, 53%, and 50%, respectively. In comparison, 29% in Australia, 28% in Spain, and 26% in France are actively using AI. 

Furthermore, 85% in China and 74% in India lead the way with their plans to accelerate their AI adoption, compared to 35% in Canada and 38% in Australia who are likely to do likewise. 

Across the board, 59% that have deployed or are exploring AI say their organization has accelerated their investments or rollout over the past two years. Some 44% point to investments in research and development, while 39% are directing their investments toward AI reskilling and workforce development.

With the recent resurgence of generative AI, 38% say their organization is implementing such tools and another 42% are exploring plans to do so. 

However, 57% note that data privacy is a key inhibitor in their adoption of generative AI, while 43% express concerns about trust and transparency

Also: The 3 biggest risks from generative AI – and how to deal with them

Asked why they have adopted or are exploring plans to adopt AI, 33% cite the automation of IT processes, and 26% point to security and threat detection. Another 25% are using or exploring plans to deploy AI for monitoring and governance, while 24% are doing so for business analytics or intelligence. 

However, 33% say the lack of AI skillsets and expertise is impeding their successful adoption and 25% are overwhelmed by too much data complexity. Some 23% note that ethical concerns are hindering their successful adoption of AI, while 22% describe AI initiatives as too difficult to integrate and scale and 21% find AI costly to adopt. Another 21% also cite the lack of tools to build AI models

About 20% believe their organizations do not have employees with the right skills to use AI or automation tools and 16% are unable to find new hires with such skills to plug the gap. 

Also: Generative AI advancements will force companies to think big and move fast

Among those whose organizations are tapping AI to resolve manpower shortages, 55% do so to reduce manual or repetitive tasks with automation tools. Another 47% have turned to AI to automate customer self-service responses and actions. 

In identifying the key drivers of adoption, the study revealed that 45% of respondents find AI more accessible now with advancements in such tools. Another 37% cite the increasing amount of AI embedded in standard off-the-shelf enterprise software as a reason for their adoption. 

In addition, 43% cite ease of deployment as an important change for AI in recent years, while 42% point to the growing prevalence of data, AI, and automation skills. 

And while 85% agree that consumers are more likely to opt for services from businesses with transparent and ethical AI practices, just 27% say their organization has taken steps to reduce bias in their efforts toward trustworthy AI. Another 41% have adopted measures to ensure they can explain the decisions of their AI models, while 44% say they are developing ethical AI policies.


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